New to the aquarium hobby and would like some feedback

  • #1
First of all Hello

Just as the title says I'm new to the hobby.
Well fairly new to the hobby, and new to this forum as well.
Let me start by telling you of my little to no experience.
When I was a kid I had goldfish in a bowl and a betta fish in a separate bowl (I know now that it was a big mistake and incredibly stupid thing to do, but I was about 13 and the LFS that I got the goldfish from were the ones that suggested that it was ok to put them in a bowl. They gave me no addition information at the time.) This was quite a few years back and I was devestated as my goldfish all died within a year obviously. Surprisingly my betta fish made it to about 2.5 years, even with my lack of knowledge and incredible stupid setup of a bowl with no filter or heater which only contained gravel and a fake plant in the middle.

Now that I am much older and more knowledgeable (at least I hope so ) id like to try again as I am absolutely fascinated with fishkeeping. I would like to do things right this time around.
Which is one of the reasons I have joined this forum. I have already read some threads on this forum and many others on starting out in the freshwater business.

I know this may sound weird BUT I would like to start out simple this time around which means with nothing but a mystery snail ( yes a single mystery snail for now) I am completely fascinated by these little things or not so little depending.

I have done some research already on these snails and how to care for them and such, so I am maily just looking for feedback on my thoughs of setup and care.

The only thing I have right now is a 10 gallon tank with a hood (no bulbs yet)
I know this is kinda big for just one mystery snail but I plan on adding a single betta fish to this tank later one.

My tank set up was going to be:
-10 gal tank
-Aquaclear power filter 20
-CaribSea Tahitian moon sand
-some basic decor
-no heater for now as mystery snails I heard like cooler temps to increase their lifespan

other things I plan on getting
-gravel vac
-Prime water conditioner
-API master test kit

Diet for my mystery snail
- HikarI Algae wafers
- veggies (boiled peas / lettuce)
- Pieces of Cuttlebone

This is what I have planned so far, I have only the tank as mentioned and the rest is just a list. I do plan on adding a betta fish to this 10 gal tank after awhile, upon which il make the necessary addition such as heater and betta log and decor, maybe a moss ball

Any advice you can give me on this set up as well as mystery snails in gerneral would be greatly appreciated.

I do live in canada and the only LFS in my area that sell mystery snails, that I know off are petsmart and big al's, and maybe this palce called dragon aquariums although that I'm not sure about. I have visited these stores and seen their snails petsmats mostly keeps then in with plants, big al's keeps some with plants and also has a tank of assorted mystery snails. These mystery snails are quite small in size and and mostly just ivory or black in color, I have yet to see a purple or blue one( which I'm partial to getting , but wouldnt mind getting a black ivory or yellow one as well) If anyone knows where I can get 'better' msytery snails from, I am also open to suggestions.

I know that this post is quite long to read, but this is my first post and I wanted to provide the most information possible to receive the best feedback, so thanks in advance for any and all advice
  • #2
Hi! I'm so glad to hear that you want to research first and that you want to keep a single betta in a 10 gallon some day! From reading your post it is obvious you have done a lot of research! The one think I didn't see mention of is the nitrogen cycle, (click the words to learn more) this is very important, especially for your snail as they can be pretty sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. I would suggest doing a fishless (in this case snail-less lol) cycle to protect your snail from the ammonia. Do you know anyone with fish that you could get some cycled filter material from? That would speed up the process by quite a bit When I had mystery snails I fed them zucchinI (it kept the most of the bettas from getting food aggressive) Welcome to the hobby! Glad to have you aboard!!
  • #3
Greetings and welcome. You are to be commended on your effort to learn before jumping in with both feet.

I have always had mixed results with mystery snails. We have them in four tanks. All are fine except the ones in the holding tank. Two of the three died one day apart. The other is fine as is the ram horn and shrimp that are in with them.
  • #4
Welcome to Fishlore! That'll be one lucky betta
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
First of all thank you guys for the quick responses and warm welcome

@CoryCats - As per you suggestion I did read up on the nitrogen cycle and yes I would like to do a fishless cycle, I was thinking about doing this with fish food but it was mentioned somewhere that this was a bad idea. Any idea why ? Unfortunately I don't know anyone close enought that can lend me their filter media to quicly establish a cycle.

@Thunder - thanks for ur kind words again and I would like to learn as much as possible this time and get it right as much as I can even if I am a beginner.
I'm hoping a single mystery snail will be fine on his own for a while as long as the tank cycles properly and I keep up with about 25% - 50% weekly regular water changes and also fine once I add the betta as long as the betta doesn't bother it too much ( which I will closely monitor - if this happens I will have to use a tank divider - don't want to have to but just incease )
  • #6
People recommend using pure ammonia instead of fish food to ensure that there is enough ammonia. I have never done a fishless cycle myself so another user would be able to offer more help than I can
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
hmm ok makes sense but thers no adverse effects to using fish food only is there ? if I use the right amount.
  • #8
HI zombI and welcome!!!!

I'm glad you've got such a great plan and hope that everything you learn here will help make your fishkeeping experience a great one!

I know you'll learn all kinds of useful information here and as you've already noted the members of this forum are friendly and willing to help.

I haven't tried a fishless cycle myself.. it's been a long time since I didn't have fish, so I am not sure if the fish food will do enough for your tank. Most fish foods are designed to try to reduce waste and ammonia content. I would think it may take longer to cycle the tank with only fish food, but this may also give you time to find the snail you would like to have.

  • #9
zombI welcome, also I was going to use fish food for my fishless cycle but was warned against for potential algae problems
  • #10
HI Zombi, I am Pam and I want to welcome you to this forum. We are so happy to have you here and I personally am so glad you are taking the steps into making an educated decision as to how to properly care for your aqua buddies. With that being said ill proceed to tell you about my person experience fish less cycling my tank.

For starters, I did poor research about it and threw a piece of raw fish into the tank to start the cycle. (The raw fish will start to decompose and produce ammonia) so that was my source of ammonia. Didn't work for me. It created a big mess and smelly cloudy water. I removed it

I then starte to dose the tank with ACE 10% janitorial strength ammonia (pure ammonia: If you shake the bottle and doesn't create bubbles is pure and also the label shows ammonium chloride as only ingredient) I dosed and I got my cycle going and done in a month and half.

Your second and personally best option is Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride @mamajin has more experience with it but for what I've read it works wonders.

The fish food I also tried but didn't work. Just as the raw fish it created cloudy water and basically you don't have a control over how much ammonia it will create so that you have around 4ppm to start the cycle.
  • #11
I didn't see the nitrogen cycle anywhere but I LOVE your setup
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
wow this forum is very active and helpful

@shayla1 - hello! and thank you for the warm welcome and, yes this place has tons of information as well as helpful people. If time was the only issue for the cycle I wouldnt mind, but others have stated things such as algae problems and like you said not enough ammonia content to work with so I think another option is required.

@tfckmk988 - hello and yes I have now read about this in multiple places also, so I'm thinking about using the pure ammonia method.

@Pam - Hello and Thank your for sharing your experience with me I did check out Dr.Tim's line and read good reviews on their ammonia chloride and their one and only bacteria- might give that method a go.

@Joshsfish22 - Thanks! and yes I had not thought of the nitrogen cycle until someone on this forum mentioned it, I think I am going to be doing a fishless cycle with pure ammonia and maybe Dr.Tim's bacteria ( still looking into it).
  • #13
You could also find someone local on Craigslist who is selling plants/fish and ask them if you can shake some of their gravel into a bag to start your tank. Offer them $5 for the trouble. Pick up a plant while you're at it.

As for the size of the local mystery snails, I wouldn't worry too much that they're small. Ours have quadrupled in size over the last 4 months since we got them.

And personally, I'd get two. Twice the fun, twice the cleaning power, hardly any extra bio-load, since your tank will be pretty empty.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
hey dingo that's not a bad idea, I was actually thinking along similar lines of asking the people at my LFS if I can either buy or have some filter media ( is this a common occurance ? ) or will I look totally ridiculous doing this. and I'm glad to hear they get much bigger as ive heard they do

I would love to get 2 snails like u said, twice the fun but I don't want the hastle of dealing with 150 snail babies, as thers a chance of this happening lol and I will be adding a single betta fish to that tank also a little after I add the mystery snail, maybe wait for him to get a bit bigger

ive actualy encounterd something that can set me back a week or so before I can start cycling my tank (non tank realted / house renovation ). I just picked an odd time to get into the hobby lol. I don't mind it though as it gives me more time to prepare / research.

thanks for the awesome advice and input
  • #15
I wouldn't do it from a pet store's gravel... you never know what comes and goes through there. At least with a Craigslist fish owner, you can see the tank and ask them about its history. Of course they could lie, but liars probably aren't the type to help you establish your tank in the first place.

As for mystery snails, the egg clutch is pretty easy to spot and remove, unlike a lot of other snail species. They lay them above the water line, and they're not microscopic. I've not had any yet, but my dad said his clutch was about 2 inches long. I've had 2 for 4 months, and still have 2, though they have tried to mate a couple times.

Long story short, I've never heard of anyone being overrun with mystery snails.

One of the main reasons I recommend 2 is ours tend to be active in cycles, like a tag team. One of ours won't move all day while the other runs around cleaning things and exploring... then they'll switch. Some days both are running around like crazy. I just figure if that's all you have in your tank to watch, it'd be a lot more enjoyable if it wasn't just one closed up in a corner sleeping.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
wow I never even thought about the pet store tanks and their numerous diseases and the amount of fish that pass through them (some dead), I'm kinda glad I read this ...thanks a bunch! I'm going to look for local craigslist postings.

hmm so your saying I can remove the egg clutch if I notice it early on ? how do I get rid of them ??

and ahh I see ur reasoning, ya I heard mystery snails like to hide in their shells for extended periods of time, I will consider getting 2
betta fan 99
  • #17
I would suggest plenty of hiding spaces, like hollow rocks that's they can go in and out of. I used to have mystery snails and apple snails and they both loved to hide amd climb on things.

Also I would suggest looking at, they have a lot of great info on there!
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
hey betta fan - I already got the decor for my tank and this is what I have - hope both the snail and betta like it lol

and 2 silk plants one small and one slightly bigger one
  • #19
hmm so your saying I can remove the egg clutch if I notice it early on ? how do I get rid of them ??

You can just scrape/wipe them off the glass or hood. Just hold something under it, like paper, in case any fall. They're tiny, but you can actually see individual eggs, like micro-caviar.
  • #20
Hi, Zombie, & welcome to Fishlore!

As a "newbie" myself, I heartily commend you for doing so much research before you actually get any fish; I wish I had had the foresight to do that - I would have saved my-self & my fish a lot of trouble.

As a new "mom" of 2 beautiful ivory mystery snails, I agree with Dingo in saying that you probably should get 2 if you can. I can't believe how much fun it is to watch their antics; they are very active most of the time, & really enjoy each other's company - I wouldn't think of separating them now. I'm not sure if they are both sexes, or just one, but they are inseparable. Mine love thawed peas, & AkarI algae wafers, & I'm still trying to get them to eat zuchinni. jwebbe suggests shrimp pellets, also.

I also have 2 Betta boys, in separate tanks, of course, & they are adorable; 2 distinct personalities.

Please keep us up-dated on your progress, zombie. I can tell you will be a successful fish-keeper.
betta fan 99
  • #21
hey betta fan - I already got the decor for my tank and this is what I have - hope both the snail and betta like it lol

and 2 silk plants one small and one slightly bigger one

I'm sure they will love it!
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
@ dingo - thanks for the info, hopefully I remember to remove them quicly and safely instead of paniking

@ glo - thanks for your kind words I was thinking about getting an ivory snail myself since I thought it would be a nice contrast to my black substrate. Also since you and dingo both suggested that I get two of them I might have to make them 2 ivory mystery snails
I am also planning on getting a betta fish, right now I'm partial to a giant / king betta but that may change when I actually buy one and happen to see a different type with some personality
I will defninitely keep you guys updated, may take some time as I mentioned I had a set back in a previous post but I'm definitely excited about getting my snails and betta!

@betta fan - Thanks!
  • #23
... I was thinking about getting an ivory snail myself since I thought it would be a nice contrast to my black substrate. Also since you and dingo both suggested that I get two of them I might have to make them 2 ivory mystery snails

We've got 4 total, 2 in each tank. Both tanks have black or very dark substrate.

We have one each of an ivory, a misty blue, a gold and a "black" which has stripes. The black is the only one that is hard to find sometimes due to its color. Any of the others will stand out great against black substrate if you wanna mix it up a little. My favorite is our blue - his (her?) shell almost glows with a ghostly blue-grey. Plus he's got tomato red freckles and eyes that really stand out against his dark gray skin. The ivory and gold are like albinos of him, with almost white skin with peachy-orange freckles and eyes. No matter which color(s) you get, I think you'll love watching them once they decide they own the tank.

...and the bigger they get, the more fascinating they are to watch.
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
dingo your snails sound like they look really cool and lots of fun to watch. I wouldnt mind getting a blue one myself if I can, I don't think I can quite tell what color they are clearly when their really small like they are at the LFS. all the times ive been there ive only seen ivory ones, few black ones and like maybe 1 or 2 gold(yellow) ones.

Also if u got the time and the means some pics would be totally awesome hehe
  • #25
Also if u got the time and the means some pics would be totally awesome hehe

Asking for pics? You're fitting in already lol Pictures are a very common request on fishlore lol
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
really ? lol well I didnt know it was common to do so, now that I do though ~ muahaha

I really just wanted to see the cute snails he was talking about
  • #27
I really just wanted to see the cute snails he was talking about

Unfortunately, I don't have a very good camera, so my photos are pretty bad. I think I'll be getting a nice DSLR for christmas, but that doesn't really help at the moment

Here are a few shots I found online though, that really show the skin patterns I was talking about:




I'll try to get some shots tonight with my auto-everything camera.

What size are the snails there? Ours were about 0.75-1" or so when we got them.
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
hey dingo Appreciate the effort

I really like that top blue one with the "spots" I actually saw a few ivory ones at my LFS with bright orange "spots" like that looked really cool. and man the blue color is really cool.

The ones at my LFS are about the same size as u mentioned, I just thought they sold them a bit bigger, I'm actually wondering if its possible to spot those light blue ones at that size.
Maybe I'm just blind o.o
  • #29
Maybe I'm just blind o.o

The blues are kind of rare around here too, but we got ours at petsmart... So you might be able to order one through your local store. The sku on the site is 3954040 - enter that in the search field of their site and it comes up.

I haven't seen any around here since I got ours... and yes, you can tell their color when they're small.
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
hey so I entered that number and the general order page for mystery snails comes up.
The only color choices I have are ivory, gold and black and the site lists mystery snails as instore only.
I dunno if this is a 'canadian' petsmart thing or not. All the times ive been to petsmart ive never seen a blue one 'yet' I'm hoping lol. There are a lot more snails available at my other LFS big al's, maybe il get lucky there, but even there I have yet to spot a blue one, I guess they are just rare.
Either way its all a matter of timing, as I can only get them technically once in done cycling - and at that time they may still not have any blue ones. Its not that big a deal as I said id be ok with the ivory ones, especially the ones with the 'orange' spots that I mentioned BUT it would be really cool to get a blue one

and sorry another question would 10 gallons be ok for 2 fully grown mystery snails AND a betta fish ?
  • #31
I'd say yes on the 10 gallon, but you might want a second opinion. Mine aren't the size of tennis balls yet, haha.

I missed that you were in Canada. Here in the US, that page has a drop down that lists the same 3 colors, plus blue.

I'm sure you'll still love whatever you decide to go with. Personally, I'd go with 2 different colors, just so I could tell them apart from across the room, lol.
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
woo tennis balls ? really dats big I just pictured 2 tennis balls and a betta in my tank seems a littl crowded lol

and ya canada doesn't have that 'blue' option sadly

ya most of them are very cute with their antics, and yeah prolly best to get a ivory and maybe a yellow lol good tip
  • #33
woo tennis balls ? really dats big I just pictured 2 tennis balls and a betta in my tank seems a littl crowded lol

ok, ping pong balls, lol. ...but apparently that's rare:


...and I REALLY want a purple one like this, but never seen one in person:

  • Thread Starter
  • #34
wow that one on the coke can is pretty big lol and yes the purple one looks awesome, I have never seen one in person either sadly. You probably stand a better chance of seeing one than me though, already lucked out with that light blue one you have ;P
  • #35
At the bottom of this page is the best photo I've seen showing the size of an egg clutch:

Elsewhere on the page it says the clutch is the size of your pinky finger. Don't think you'd have any trouble spotting that!
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
that's almost the size of the snail itslef !!! lol well then
  • #37
Phone pics, but the best I can do right now. These are mine. Stuck fingers in there for rough size reference. The blue is bigger than the gold.



  • Thread Starter
  • #38
OMAGAWD they are adorable! all this snail talk and pictures is making me excited and impatient lol

what size tank are these guys in ?
  • #39
Those are in a 20 gallon tall.

Here's my girlfriend's ivory, happily living with the betta in a 10 gallon:

  • Thread Starter
  • #40
;o wow that ivory looks really nice too and tell your girlfriend that her betta is an awesome bright blue
I love it. those plants real ? specifically that pink one with the broad leafs ?
and ur KILLING me with these pics lol its terrible, I'm going to see if I can do something about me cycling delay

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